As smartphone tech seeks new solutions to accommodate bigger and better screens, the foldable smartphone became an inevitable answer. We have been talking about Foldable phones for many years now, but it’s only now that they have gone mainstream. (हिंदी में पढ़िए)
There were numerous hurdles, but the foldable phones did make it to markets in late 2019, and they have done surprisingly well. Samsung has managed to retail more than 400,000 units of fold in spite of the exorbitant price, and Huawei is reporting great numbers for its Mate X in China.
We can sense the upcoming deluge of foldable-screen phones in 2020, but is it really the beginning of a new era? Frankly, it’s too early to say, but judging by the enthusiasm around this tech evolution, perhaps the trend will catch on.
Are there apps optimized for foldable display phones?
Yes, Android has ‘Screen Continuity’, and so developers won’t have to go through an awful lot of trouble to optimize their apps for foldable displays. Simply put, its the feature by which an app could smoothly and seamlessly transform to and fro the different screen sizes.
App developers have had a headstart and many major apps must already be compatible. Google is already encouraging developers to add Screen Continuity, Multi-resume, and Multi-display support to their apps to make the transition to foldable phones smooth. In Android Q beta, we could find new changes for the same.
In concept, the option to enlarge screen in particular apps seems extremely alluring. Here’s a list of foldable phones that are already out or will be coming to the market really soon.
1. Samsung Galaxy Fold
Samsung Galaxy Fold is the only foldable phone that you can buy in India, except that it keeps running out of stock. The handset has a 7.3-inch QXGA+ (1,536 x 2,152) Dynamic AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 4.2:3. This display called Infinity Flex Display folds in half and you’ve got a 4.58-inch screen on the surface. Turn on the screen, you would be greeted by the OneUI based on Android 9.0 Pie with tailored software tweaks.
The phone ships with Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC paired with 12GB of RAM and 512GB storage. The Galaxy Fold includes two batteries with 2,190mAh capacity, 4,380mAh in total and they work in tandem.
The phone includes 6 cameras – On the rear, a 16MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide camera, a 12MP wide-angle camera, and a 12MP telephoto sensor; on the inside is a 10MP (f/2.2) camera and an 8MP (f/1.9) RGB depth camera; upfront, you’ll get a 10MP (f/2.2) sensor.
2. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
Riding high on the Galaxy Fold success, Samsung will soon launch its second foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Flip that will sport a Moto Razr like design. The Galaxy Z Flip, which was earlier being referred to as Bloom, will be officially presented on February 11 in India.
Going by credible rumors, the Galaxy Z Flip allegedly has a 3300mAh battery with 15W charging and is quite petite once folded. Since this is a second-generation foldable phone, we are guessing that it will be relatively affordable.
3. Microsoft Surface Duo
Microsoft Surface Duo is another device that comes with twin screens. This one doesn’t have a foldable display but brings together two different screens on either side of a patented and slim hinge that rotates 360-degrees. The idea of freely multitasking on two different screens simultaneously is thoroughly appealing, which makes the Surface Duo very exciting.
The Surface Duo is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and features two 5.6-inches screen. This upcoming foldable device runs on a custom Android built and will become available in the later-half of 2020.
4. Moto Razr 2019
This year we witnessed the return of the Razr, a legendary smartphone from the good OG days. The new Razr has a 6.2-inch vertical Flip-View display with a 21:9 aspect ratio. At the top of this screen lies a notch wherein the phone’s 5MP selfie snapper resides. At the back, there’s a primary 16-megapixel rear shooter, which also substitutes the selfie action while the phone’s in it’s folded form. This one comes with Night-mode and AI enhancements.
The 2.7-inch cover display in the Razr’s folded state is called a Quick-View display. It’s used for peeking notifications, sending preset quick replies, control music playback, etc.
It’s not flagship in terms of specs. For instance, you get a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chipset, with Android 9 on top. The Razr ticks on a 2510mAh battery that supports 15W fast charging.
5. Huawei Mate X
Huawei Mate X unfolds to transform the 6.6-inch full-screen smartphone into a 5.4mm thin, eight-inch tablet that features almost double the viewing area of the device in smartphone mode. Huawei calls it as Falcon Wing Mechanical hinge.
It features two battery combining a total capacity of 4500mAh with the 55W HUAWEI SuperCharge support. Under the hood, it also features the Kirin 980 SoC with Balong 5000 5G modem. On the memory department, we have 512GB internally and 8GB of RAM. The phone will ship with a custom-made EMUI 9.1.1 based on Android 9 Pie software.
A triple camera setup powered by Leica optics acts as front cum rear shooters. The trio comprises of a primary 40MP sensor (wide-angle lens), 16MP (ultra-wide-angle lens), and an 8MP sensor (telephoto).
6. Huawei Mate Xs
Huawei will also soon launch its second foldable phone, the Mate Xs, which will be a smaller and improved version of the Mate X. The Mate Xs is likely to have an improved hinge and a stronger foldable display.
It’s also expected to be more affordable than the Mate X.
7. Royole Flexpai
While the whole world was waiting for Samsung and other big shots to launch a folding smartphone, Royole Flexpai was revealed. The tech community, however, was not impressed by the rushed up barebone device.
8. LG G8X ThinQ
LG G8x ThinQ isn’t quite a foldable phone, but it’s a middling solution that gives you two screens – one regular, and one in a detachable flip cover. These two screens are separated by a wide hinge, but they are still fascinating and should ease multitasking.
The G8X ThinQ is powered by Snapdragon 855 octa-core chipset, has a 4000mAh battery, and runs Android 9 based software out of the box.
9. Xiaomi Dual Flex or MIX Flex
Check out this special video from #Xiaomi President and Co-founder Bin Lin, showing off a very special phone prototype… 😎
— Donovan Sung (@donovansung) January 23, 2019
Unlike Samsung, Xiaomi intends to mass-manufacture its foldable device. A double-folding smartphone was seen used by the company president and co-founder Mr. Lin Bin in a video. When he folds it from the left and right side, the display transforms into a smaller form factor like a phone.
We couldn’t get a view of the cameras or the power button. However, the phone sported MIUI skin which could’ve been guessed otherwise too.
10. OPPO Foldable Smartphone
OPPO’s Product Manager Chuck Wang has settled the speculations on their foldable smartphone debut at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019. OPPO has reportedly patented three or more designs, but it’s still unclear on which one of these we would witness at the mobile trade show.
11. TCL Trifold
TCL showcased its trifold foldable concept. It principally is a 6.65-inch phone that unfolds into a full-size, 10-inch ‘tablet’. Yeah a full-fledged tablet, not a broader phone. This transition takes 3x unfolding. It employs the brand’s DragonHinge hinge. The displays are lit up by three batteries. It might be A.T.M experimental in the truest sense due to the chunky profile in the folded state and an absent software solution. Still and all, it’s interesting and since it has reached thus far, it can feasible in the future.
10 Best Foldable Phones Coming Up This Year
Apart from LG, Apple and OnePlus all major Smartphone makers are likely to release foldable phones in 2020. Samsung Senior VP Hark-sang Kim believes their Infinity Flex Display will be prospective for reimagining the smartphone tech.
Any new technology would undergo some hurdles in the initial phase, but it looks like the worst for the foldable phones is now over.